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[prik-uh l] /ˈprɪk əl/
a sharp point.
a small, pointed process growing from the bark of a plant.
a sharp process or projection, as from the skin of an animal; a spine.
a pricking sensation.
verb (used with object), prickled, prickling.
to prick lightly.
to cause a pricking or tingling sensation in.
verb (used without object), prickled, prickling.
to tingle as if pricked.
Origin of prickle
before 950; Middle English prykel (noun), Old English pricel. See prick, -le
Related forms
unprickled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for prickling
Historical Examples
  • There was a prickling at the base of my scalp and I was drenched with cold sweat.

    The Man the Martians Made Frank Belknap Long
  • During the night, the fullness, numbness, and prickling were much increased.

  • For a strange nothing had started my neck-hairs to prickling.

  • That instant, wherever the weight of his hand had been, the prickling began.

    The Wonder of War on Land

    Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • He felt a prickling on the nape of his neck, as the hair stirred there.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • He woke some time later with the prickling feeling of danger on his skin.

    The Buttoned Sky Geoff St. Reynard
  • Hyrst's nerves were prickling with a mixture of fierce satisfaction and fear.

    The Legion of Lazarus Edmond Hamilton
  • And in the silence there came to him again that strange, prickling apprehension.

  • With him gone, Helen felt a palpitating of her heart and a prickling of her skin.

  • Lindsays hair rose with a prickling progress from his scalp.

    Out of the Air Inez Haynes Irwin
British Dictionary definitions for prickling


(botany) a pointed process arising from the outer layer of a stem, leaf, etc, and containing no woody or conducting tissue Compare thorn (sense 1)
a pricking or stinging sensation
to feel or cause to feel a stinging sensation
(transitive) to prick, as with a thorn
Word Origin
Old English pricel; related to Middle Low German prekel, German Prickel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for prickling



Old English pricel "thing to prick with, goad, point," from the same source as Old English prician (see prick (v.)) with instrumental suffix -el (cf. Middle Low German prickel, Dutch prikkel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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